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Civil Rights Movement

The African American community’s call for equal opportunity and the end of racial segregation struck a responsive chord among many Japanese AmericansIn the course of participating in this and other social justice movements, many Sansei (third-generation Japanese Americans) and Nisei, along with other people of color realized that their history and culture were missing from the educational curricula.

The Vietnam War protests and the Third World Student Strikes of the 1960’s set the stage for Sansei, in particular, to question the official government rationale for the World War II internment.

Through Ethnic Studies courses and pilgrimages to former camp sites such as Manzanar and Tule Lake, Sansei began to realize the full scope of Constitutional violations and injustices endured by their parents and grandparents.

The process of convincing the Issei (first-generation immigrant Japanese) and Nisei to share their personal stories was often difficult, as many preferred not to speak about the shame, humiliation and indignities they had experienced even to their children.